books

In the world of literary prizes Britain's Man Booker stands out as one of the most prestigious and lucrative. So every year writers and their publishers and agents are eager to learn who made the final cut. Today the six writers who made it to the short list were revealed. Two Americans, two Brits and two Canadians are now competing for the award which is given each year for a novel written in English which has been published in the U.K.

The Voynich Manuscript is a singular mystery. But thanks to a small publishing house in Spain, the one-of-a-kind text will soon be more like one-in-900.

The 15th-century document is written in an unknown, apparently encrypted language that has defied every code breaker's efforts. It's illustrated with unknown or imaginary plants and never-seen constellations. The only copy is locked away at Yale University to protect the book; scans online are the closest most mortals can get to viewing its pages.

Novelist Angela Flournoy recently said, "I think it's an undue burden for the writer of color that's just trying to get people to care about their book as much as other people's books, to then also be the one to have the answers."

John Allen / Flickr

Usually, when we check in with our travel expert Matthew Brumley, he’s talking to us about some far-off destination that we need to reach by plane or boat or train. But this week on “Going Places,” he’s traveling by the book.

 

Below, find our favorite books that are either about travel, or make us want to travel. And add yours to the list, in the comments section at the end.

Matthew’s List

Nicole Dennis-Benn's debut novel takes readers to a Jamaica that tourists rarely visit. "This is no paradise. At least not for us," she writes.

The characters in Here Comes the Sun are working-class women. They struggle with money, sexuality and the pressures of tourism squeezing their small community of River Bank.

'Missing, Presumed' Brings The Police Procedural To Life

Jul 2, 2016

If you've binge-watched Happy Valley, The Fall or Prime Suspect, have I got a book for you: Former journalist Susie Steiner's Missing, Presumed offers a close view of diverse British characters coming to terms with both a murder and their own imperfect lives. You might come to Missing, Presumed for the police procedural; you'll stay for the layered, authentic characters that Steiner brings to life.

The novel Valley of the Dolls turns fifty this year — and it still looks fabulous.

Maybe it's the nips and tucks, or the booze and pills — you know, the dolls — or the backstabbing. Or the bonking.

If, for some reason you have not come across this book in your literary travels — or maybe you're pretending you haven't — it's the seamy Hollywood showbiz story of three women, Anne Welles, Jennifer North and Neely O'Hara.

With Beauty And Wonder, 'The Winged Histories' Soars

Mar 16, 2016

In Sofia Samatar's World Fantasy Award-winning debut novel A Stranger in Olondria, she introduced an empire redolent with magic and rife with turmoil. Olondria is one of the richest new fantasy settings in recent memory, and Samatar has returned to it in The Winged Histories. Like the book before it, Histories deals with the way language, books, and romance intersect with class, politics, and religion — and it does so in an ornate, dreamlike atmosphere.

Yes, You Can Still Teach Kids To Love Books

Mar 8, 2016

The Internet has not killed the book.

For film critic David Denby, this wasn't immediately obvious. He would watch young people hunched over their phones — on the subway, in coffee shops, walking down the street — and wonder: Are kids still learning to read books?

Denby, who is best known for his work in The New Yorker, went back to high school to find out. He describes his experience in Lit Up: One Reporter. Three Schools. Twenty-Four Books That Can Change Lives.

Welcome to the third session of the Morning Edition Reads book club! Here's how it works: A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We'll all read it. Then, you'll send us your questions about the book. About a month later, we'll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

Silver Lining: Sound Effect, Episode 39

Oct 3, 2015
Used With Permission Of Jason Padgett / struckbygenius.com

"Sound Effect" is your weekly tour of ideas, inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer. Each week's show explores a different theme. This week we go out in search of silver linings.

David Neiwert

If you ever thought of Puget Sound Orcas as some kind of magical being, you’re not alone. A new book by local author and investigative journalist David Neiwert details some of their most impressive qualities.

Of Orcas and Men –What Killerwhales Can Teach Us weaves personal narratives with the latest science.

Seth Wenig / AP

Update: Marian McPartland died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. As a remembrance, we are rerunning this piece, which first ran in October 2012. 

A new book chronicles the life and illustrious career of jazz piano legend Marian McPartland. She's known for her role as host of Piano Jazz on NPR for more than three decades, but her fans have known little else about Marian McPartland. Until now.

Courtesy Paul Greenberg

The future of food is a subject writer Paul Greenberg has explored extensively in his NYTimes bestselling book, called Four Fish. It’s also something that interests him deeply as a lifelong fisherman. He grew up in Connecticut, where he discovered this passion as a youngster.

KPLU’s Bellamy Pailthorp invited him into our studios for an interview about his last book, as well as a new one he's been researching in the Pacific Northwest. (You can hear the interview by clicking on the "Listen" icon above. )

More than 75,000 ballots were cast in our annual summer reader's survey — click here to see the full list of 100 books, complete with links and descriptions. Below is a printable list of the top 100 winners. And for even more great reads, check out the complete list of 235 finalists.

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

It's almost a cliche at this point to say that teen fiction isn't just for teens anymore. Just last year, the Association of American Publishers ranked Children's/Young Adult books as the single fastest-growing publishing category.

By the time this post goes up, I'll be vacationing in New Jersey. (No jokes please!) My destinations are Springsteen Country and the beach, or as we say in my home state, The Shore.

Novel-reading on the beach is one way I'll relax. During some future fantasy vacation, I'd love to do nothing but read, inhaling a book a day.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Seattle has always been a city that likes to read. But if the Seattle Public Library's growing e-book collection and its high usage is any indication, even more people are reading more books. And, we're also outpacing New York.

The Seattle Public Library now has just over 100,000 digitized books compared to the New York Public Library which has about 88,000.

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new book explores how southeast Washington's Hanford Nuclear Reservation helped shape the Atomic Age. It's called "Made in Hanford: The bomb that changed the world."

Hill Williams says perhaps the most surprising thing he found through his research was how closely linked his life has been to the development of nuclear weapons.

One of the world's best-known thinkers about global climate change is Australian writer Tim Flannery. He's not only a best-selling author, he's also his country's first Chief Commissioner for Climate Change.

His latest book, Here on Earth: a Natural History of the Planet, paints a hopeful picture of the future of human life on earth. He recently gave a talk in Seattle, where he said his message of optimism seemed to have trouble getting through to his audience.

KPLU's Bellamy Pailthorp caught up with him for an interview.

Photo courtesy of the author.

The Dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University is all smiles this week. His book, The New Arab Journalist is coming out at the same time as the mass protests going on in Egypt. You couldn't ask for better timing.

© Edgar Turner

Three books by Pacific Northwest authors have come to my attention this season that would please airplane aficionados of many persuasions.